Serish, Street Urchin - Tempter of Paladins
One day a young girl, a thief, captured my attention. I am this city's Captain of the Watch, a paladin getting on in life. The thief, dressed in fine linens, she must be a young woman from a noble house of moderate wealth. I noticed her lifting baubles from several merchants in the bazaar. “A rich kid stealing trinkets,” I think to myself, “how typical”. While keeping an eye on her, I see her passing the loot to a well known criminal, a man who radiates the stench of an evil doer that I have grown to know so well. She is being pimped, of course! Well it’s my duty to stop this and liberate this girl from the oppression of her life under the thumb of this criminal!
Signaling to three of my guards, we approach the two thieves. Asking for a word, we guide them out of the bazaar and into an alley. Immediately I accuse the man of possessing stolen property and of human trafficking. I begin to beat him with righteous wrath without waiting for any response. The overwhelming red aura of evil that surrounds him is all I need, to know my actions are just. The girl screams and cries for the rogue, begging us to let him be. Even though she is pleading, and confessing to the thefts, I ignore her pleas. She leaps on my back. As my guards’ attention is drawn away for a moment, it is just long enough for the beaten and bloody rogue to frantically sneak away. Cursing, I throw the girl off of my back. Ordering my men to bind her and take her to jail, I smile inwardly. The pimp has fled, and the girl has been freed. Another right has been wronged today, I think to myself smugly.
Back at the jail, he told the guards to leave him while he questions me. “You should be grateful,” he says, as his large sweaty form draws close to me. He licks his lips as he closes the blinds and locks the door to his office. His breath quickens, coming in uneven wheezes. Apparently this asshole is getting on in life. As a paladin has he never known the touch of a woman? The glimmer in his eye tells me the price of abstinence. I quickly realize what he intends. At first I feel discouraged. I have been arrested. I just witnessed my stepfather viciously beaten. I think I have no choice, for to deny him would mean he will send me to prison (if I'm lucky) and probably hunt my stepfather down again too.
This disturbed old paladin’s desired intent, to claim his reward from my pants, fully blossoms in my mind. I wretch a little in my mouth. I think, “To the abyss with this!” As I frantically wonder how I am going to escape the jail, I hurriedly run through possible escape routes in my mind. Yet to run away will mean I will always be running. Meanwhile, another girl will surely become the deranged paladin’s next victim.
Dejectedly, I surrender. Sitting back on his desk, I drop my head in defeat. "You saved me. Living on the streets has been so hard." I sniffed. He didn't hesitate. Grinning he draws my legs around his waist, pulling me close. Frigging knights, they think they saved the day and the world owes them Everything. Smirking, he fumbles with my belt, I reach for his. Grinning with anticipation, he realizes too late how much he has misjudged this girl. Quickly I pull his cudgel from his belt. SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! His helmet flies into the door, rolling loudly on the cobblestone floor. Blood and fragments of skull splatter on the ground, as the paladin’s body slumps, dead, to the ground.
Realizing what I have done, I break out in a cold sweat. This is bad, I think frantically to myself. Before the guards come to see what has happened, I grab the keys from his belt. Fleeing his office, toward what I hope to Tymora will be an exit; I spot my tattered sack, and snag it as I escape. Sneaking out of the back of the jail, I lope up the side of the building, onto the rooftop.
Stopping to catch my breath, I hear the sounds of the guards bursting from the jail shouting orders and beginning a manhunt. Quickly I try to think of how best to disguise myself. I draw an etched dagger from my bundle of belongings and begin cutting my hair off. Soon I am left only a layer of soft fuzz on my head. Cutting the hems from my clothes and rubbing filth on them, I quickly begin to resemble a ragged, homeless young boy. Satisfied with my appearance I nimbly climb down the building. Huddling in my rags I reenter the bazaar with my new identity, a street urchin, living beyond the reach of the law at all times. Never again would they take me alive.
Lurking through the darkest parts of town, I completely avoid the bazaar. I am able to avoid the manhunt to get back to our hole. I come in quickly to our home, glad to have avoided any mishaps; just to see a room covered in blood. My stepfather’s dead body lies in the middle of the floor. It looks like he threw up large quantities of blood. His ribs must have cut into his insides, killing him slowly after he fled the scene. When he got back here he was too wounded to even seek any help. Living separately, and often far apart, as we were wont to do; nobody heard him die.
Looking around, I know there’s no fixing this mess. When the guards come, I’ve got to be far away. Quickly gathering my entire life up in my sack, I slunk out of my apartment and into the shadows. Making a beeline for the north gate, I want to put some distance between me and the city before the sun gets low.
The north gates, to my dismay, had 8 elite guards on alert inspecting everyone leaving. Remembering my new identity, I focus on who I am going to be and slunk directly into the guards. COUGH! COUGH! HACK, H-H-H-H.. I bite down on my tongue drawing blood. Wheezing, I stumble into the cleanest of the guards, and start coughing into the clean white tunic that covers his chain mail. Blood flecked spittle sprays all over the clean linen as I grab onto a merchant’s cart that is passing by to steady myself. Disgusted, the guard looks down at his defiled clothes and then at me. Swearing to Tyr, he grabs me by my rundown traveling cloak pulling me face to face with him. Bringing to mind my encounter with the captain of the watch earlier, I yack in my mouth a little bit. Exhaling directly in his face, he drops me yelling, “Aw sick!” and begins dry heaving onto the cobblestones. Using my best old lady voice, “Excuse me sir, I’m not feelin’ my best today, sir.” The other guards burst out laughing at the brash guard for getting too close to such a wretch as me. “Quit wasting time on that street urchin! There are plenty of carts waiting to be searched! The assassin we are hunting could be hiding anywhere!” Hobbling past the last of the guards I continue coughing harshly, and slowly follow the road to the north.
Once I am out of sight of the gates to Waterdeep, I sigh longingly, once again I find myself without anywhere to call my home. Continuing through a road crossing, I wonder whether I might have a map of this area. To my dismay I find none. I continue following the road until it dead ends. A road stretches to the east and west. A ramshackle hostel is here, full of weary adventurers and the poorest traveling merchants. Looking quite dismal and rejected, this place seems to be perfectly suited to me. As for my journey, which way should I go? I have no idea. But before I choose, I could dearly use some rest.
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